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Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Old Testament in General: Verse Divisions



7. The division according to the פסוקים/Passukim, στιχίων, verses. The authors of it were not the Tiberian Masoretes, but the Men of the Great Synogogue. Christians borrowed it from the Jews.



The remaining division is by means of the פסוקים/Passukim, στιχίων, verses, which interrupt the continuity of the Sacred text, and divide sentences, whether perfect, or severed by the סוף פסוק, Soph Passuk (ֽ׃), accent. Indeed, originally the Book of the Law of Moses wasספר פשוט בלי סימני סופי פסוקים כאשר אנחנו ראים היום׃, a simple Book, without the signs of verses, as we see today, as Elias Levita says in his Præfatione 3 in Libro Masoreth. And the Jews also prove that from the Sacred Book of the Law, written upon a great scroll after the fashion of the ancients, which is kept in their Synagogues in a holy ark for solemn Sabbath and festal readings, and even now is seen without those Signs of verse, according to the form of the first exemplar written by Moses, and bestowed upon the people of Israel, as they themselves assert. But, what the same Elias Levita persists in maintaining, that the distinction of verses was furnished by the Tiberian Jews[1] long after the completion of the Talmud, is solidly refuted by the Most Illustrious Buxtorf in his Commentario Masoretico, chapters 8, 11; and so it is shown that the genuine authors of that distinction are the Men of the Great Synagogue, with Ezra as President and Moderator.[2] Therefore, just as the Hebrews received from the Christians the distinction of chapters, and so also the beginning of the numbering of the verses: so in turn the Christians assign to the Hebrews the received distinction of verses. But concerning the manifest use of this distinction for reading and understanding the Holy Scripture, there is no need to say anything.

[1] The Masoretes were gathered for their work in Tiberias and Jerusalem in Palestine, and in Babylonia.


[2] Jewish tradition relates that during the early Second Temple Period there was a Great Synagogue, composed of one hundred and twenty scribes and sages, including the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and presided over by Ezra: and that this Great Synagogue was responsible, under the guidance of the Spirit, for the final shape of the Hebrew Scriptures.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
Apr 26, 2019


De Moor's Didactico-Elenctic Theology (): ' Finally, among the Jewish Divisions of the Text in our AUTHOR appear also the פסוקים/Passukim, Biblical Verses, from the Chaldean פסק, to cease, to have an end. Now, thus the sentences of the Hebrew text are called, set off by the readers with a full breath, and inscribed and punctuated with the silluq (ֽ), the greatest disjunctive accent, together with two points called the soph passuk (׃), that is, the end of the Verse. There are a diversity of beliefs among Critics concerning the antiquity and origin of this Division. 1. There are those that refer the first Division of the Hebrew Text into Verses to the Tiberian Masoretes, and think it to …


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